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Brooklyn Hoodie: Cutting Tips

Posted by Betsy C on

Let's get one thing out of the way right now

Pre-wash your fabric! I'm so guilty of this. I just want to start cutting! Later, I suffer the repercussions once my new creation comes out the wash completely shrunken. Don't be me.

Out of all of the fabric recommendations I have given previously, French Terry is the trickiest to work with, but I think you can learn the most from. My angle is going to be skewed in this direction as I talk about French Terry specifics. However, the same information can hold true to many knits, so don't tune me out just yet.

That said, I have had cotton French Terry shrink 30%! I would recommend adding another quarter yard onto your fabric purchase if you choose to work with it.

Fighting the Torque

A lot of knits are rather unstable as far as the grainline goes. This is especially true of French Terry. Here is an example of how it can look:

Don't be worried that your fabric is defective as it will be next to impossible to find one that is perfectly square. Just do the best you can to find a consistent grainline and allow for some sacrifices. 

Choose your Grainline

A knit grainline does not always have to follow parallel to the selvedge. It should most likely be placed so the maximum stretch will go around the body. Be sure to pull your fabrics in each direction. Also, take shading when stretched into consideration and how you would like to to look when worn.

Where are the Fabric Layout Guidelines for the Hoodie?

You will not find them here. Sorry/not sorry. I find the traditional layouts that come with patterns are very wasteful and do not take into account the quirks of each fabric. The yardages that I provide for each style are the worst case scenario. But I want to you to have enough left over so maybe you can re-cut a front piece if something is really messed up. It is up to you to determine the maximum efficiency by planning according to your fabric. This is especially true if it is a one directional cut or stripes.

Then how should I cut?

Let me give you an idea of how I cut and please be open minded and interpret it as it would work for you. It does take a little practice and pre-planning, but over time you will feel more confident about how much fabric you really need to purchase based on your layout skills. 

1) Identify the largest 3 pieces and try to place them first. Everything else should fall into place after they have a home. You can pin them in place if you are unsure, of just go for it and cut them out.

2) For pieces that should be cut on the fold, fold your fabric in half for the width of that piece only. This may also determine which pieces should be cut first. 

3) Sometimes to eek out every possible area of the fabric it is best to cut as a single layer. This means that you will need to trace around a piece and then mirror image it, place into a tight area, to cut 2. Here is an example of how I would cut the sleeve, after the back piece has been cut on the fold.

What do you think about my cutting method? Do you follow cutting layouts or do you make your own?

Coming up next: The sewing starts. Assembling the pockets

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  • I just made my daughter a sweatshirt and it was a real pain to try to get the fabric to lay correctly when doubled. I lay it flat and use a rotary cutter on knits. i have a large mat that goes under my fabric to protect the table. I also place the larger pieces first then squeeze in the other pieces. If I have to cut the fabric when it is doubled I will baste the entire piece to keep both sides together before cutting.

    Talliana on
  • I tend to be stingy and cut on the flat and use my instincts rather than a layout.

    ProlificProjectStarter on
  • I am a scissors person myself. I am not sure how well a rotary cutter works for thicker fabrics, but it could be worth a try if you prefer that method.

    betsy on
  • If I have enough fabric I follow the cutting layout but if I don’t I follow my instinct! What cutting tool do you prefer: scissors or rotary cutter?

    raquel from JC on

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